Police respond to several incidents targeting local Jewish institutions
SecurityLocal Jewish community targeted

Police respond to several incidents targeting local Jewish institutions

Community members urged to contact law enforcement, Federation if they view antisemitic activity

Law enforcement responded to several incidents in the Pittsburgh Jewish community last week.

Police charged Michael George with criminal mischief and institutional vandalism after he allegedly let water run in a bathroom overnight at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh last month, causing significant damage.

George was a longtime employee of a third-party cleaning service.

The incident is not being investigated as a hate crime.

In a separate incident, police arrested William Murray on charges of ethnic intimidation, institutional vandalism and criminal mischief for allegedly carving a possible Ku Klux Klan symbol onto a door at Shaare Torah Congregation on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill.

The possible hate symbol is an upside-down triangle inside a larger triangle that can be understood to represent the letters “KKK.”

Murray is known to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and its security team. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 14.

Several local Jewish communal organizations also received bomb threat hoaxes on April 8, 11 and 13. Some were part of a statewide campaign that included Jewish institutions in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

Shawn Brokos, Federation’s director of community security, said law enforcement is actively investigating the threats. She urged anyone who has received a threat to call 911 and report it to Federation. Community members can report all suspected antisemitic activity at jewishpgh.org/form/incident-report. PJC

— David Rullo

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